Current situation in Ukraine crisis

I have studied Ukraine crisis in several articles on my website, in the section of “News and articles” and the topic has been lighted on from many viewpoints. Perhaps the most interesting single issue here is the assessment of possible military outcome of the crisis. Who might win in this war. The argued assessment by the Author is available at the end of this article.

Current, estimated goals of different players in Ukraine crisis

Assessing the goals of the various geopolitical players in Ukraine war, whether stated overtly or intended covertly, may enable us to make educated guesses as to how events may ultimately unfold.

Russia’s goals

The party, whose openly stated goals at the start of the crisis, appear to align most closely with their de facto current goals seems to be Russia, who stated at the start:

  • The denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine,
  • The cessation of hostilities against Donbass and recognizing the autonomy of Donbass 
  • The long-term neutrality of Ukraine with no possibility to join NATO (de facto or de jure).
  • The indivisibility of security in Europe, the guarantee that US/NATO intermediate range missiles or so-called anti-ballistic missiles will never be stationed in Ukrainian territory
  • The Russian status of Crimea was never negotiable

Current situation: having attempted peace negotiations a few times but being repeatedly rebuffed by the US / Ukraine / NATO, Russia occupied and denazified more regions of Eastern / Southeastern Ukraine to protect Russian speaking civilians and Russia’s own security. Subsequent referenda conducted in the four oblasts (Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson), which all voted to join Russia. Hence ensuring the security of these territories in perpetuity is now a priority.

It seems likely that the majority population in Russia will also demand the “liberation” of Odessa and Nikolaev regions, which will shrink the remaining territory of Ukraine to an impoverished land-bound “stub” state, if it continues to exist at all.

Ukraine’s goals

Basically, the goals of Ukraine might have been those of any state becoming the target of outsider’s attack. On the other hand, this is no more relevant issue, because Ukraine has been neither a sovereign and independent state since 2014, nor a coherent nation but deeply divided multiethnic artificially definite area. Its goals, operations and the very existence are now fully managed, decided and conducted by outside powers, mainly the US and somewhat the UK & EU.

Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), whose active size, in February 2022, was approx. up to 450.000 servicemen has lost over a half of that original size so far and without the massive foreign aid and support, it would collapse in a couple of weeks. NATO’s military aid, satellite data & intelligence, communication technique, battle guidance and overall operation planning and execution have been absolutely decisive in this war.

America’s goals

There is a huge disconnect between the officially stated goals and covertly pursued goals of the US. The official line from the US is that they are engaging in a noble struggle to “free” Europe from an “unreliable” energy provider, Russia, and that this is a global confrontation between Western “Democratic” and Eastern “Authoritarian” regimes for the future of the world.

In reality, quite opposites apply. All actions by the US with regard to Russia and Ukraine since 1991 are focused on the vassalage, not the liberation of Europe, and the full containment and militarily encirclement of Russia, which has been a major provider of cheap energy to Europe. Some short-term goals of the US neocons, as far as cutting off the sale of Russian energy to Europe and conducting the Europeans into buying very expensive fracked American LNG, seem to have been successful.

However, this will not work in the medium to long term, because expensive fracked LNG (four times more expensive than Russian pipeline gas) can never generate industrial products economically competitive with products manufactured using much cheaper energy by China using piped Russian gas. Hence, the collapse of the German industrial economy is certain, if the Germans continue down this suicidal path. From the Biden Administration’s perspective, any peaceful economic links between Germany and Russia must be sabotaged at all costs, because it would create an economic-industrial giant that, along with China, would sideline the US into marginal on the world stage.

The medium-term US tactics and goals were to confiscate more than $300 billion of Russian foreign reserves and to impose economic sanctions, which would turn the “Ruble to rubble” and trigger Russian economic collapse. This would create public unrest in Russia, which would enable a US sponsored colour revolution to depose Putin.

 The US long term goal would eventually be to fragment Russia into smaller states. Those smaller post Russian banana republics would each have puppet leaders appointed by the US, who would then foil the “belt and road” initiative of China, the next target of the US neocons.

All of these goals and chain of events have been outlined in many American official or think-tank documents, especially that from the Rand corporation.

Europe’s goals

The used concepts require more explanations. The EU can be distinguished between the EU elite and ordinary EU citizens in different European countries. The former has proved to be a meek and amenable vassal of the current US Democratic administration. The goals of the EU elite have been dictated by the US. The ordinary people of Europe seem to be largely unaware and indifferent, brainwashed by their Mainstream Media (MSM) to adopt any political agenda and bigotry, to be fed by MSM to them. The UK, an integral part of Anglo-American bloc, is led by the “old school” British elite still dreaming to live in the “special” relations with the US.

All these circumstances bring about confusing ambiguity in goal defining and setting in European context. As far as can be seen right now, even if the European ordinary people could put together a vaguely coherent idea of what they may or may not want, their wishes are utterly irrelevant. They have no agency in how events are going to unfold, unless they can overthrow their governments and install leaders who truly work in their interests. The most shocking examples of these European distortions are European energy policy and the resulting “de-industrialization”, especially in Germany.

US/NATO/EU military aid to Ukraine

According to the AP’s report, “US aid to Ukraine has already included tens of thousands of missiles and rockets for air defense and anti-armor systems and more than 84 million rounds of ammunition, as well as drones, tanks, trucks, radars, body armor and other gear.” By now, it is totaled up to $60 billion and taking into account the latest request for $38 billion in November 15th, America will have spent this year on helping Ukraine defeat Russia in the Ukrainian battlefields, something approx. of $100 billion. In addition, the aid of NATO and the EU will add several billion more to the aid package, received by Ukraine.

On November 19, during his visit to Kiev, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the volume of the UK’s military aid to Ukraine had surpassed $3.6 billion. UK military aid to Ukraine may increase in 2023. “We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will maintain or increase our military aid next year. And we will provide new support for air defense”, Sunak said. The UK has already armed Ukraine with close to 7 thousand NLAW antitank complexes, over a hundred armored vehicles, Stormer self-propelled air defense guns with Starstreak missiles, several dozen M109 howitzers and L119 towed guns, M270 MLRS, over 16 thousand artillery shells, loitering munitions and 4.5 tons of plastic explosives.

Russia is likewise planning to intensify its military operation in Ukraine. The planned 2022 national defense (ND) budget was 3.51 trillion rubles ($57.4bn), which rose to 3.85 trillion rubles after the all-out invasion began. So, Russia’s total military spending now, which includes both personnel (troops) and weapons, might be less than what America is spending on weapons for Ukraine plus training of Ukraine’s troops.

Whereas Russia normally would be spending around $60billion per year on its military, America has been spending over $1.2 trillion per year (some of it in non-military federal departments, such as the Treasury Department, so as to hide from the public the roughly $400 billion per year of America’s military spending that is not being paid from the “Defense Department”). So, in a normal year, the US spends about 20 times what Russia spends on its defense. Perhaps the Biden Administration’s main strategy to defeat Russia in Ukraine and so to overthrow Vladimir Putin is precisely that 20-to-1 military spending advantage.

Yet, Russia’s great advantage, in comparison of these figures, is the massive amount of corruption and over squandering that is baked in America’s $1.2T+ annual military spending. The corruption is one of the reasons why the US GAO has been reporting significant failures in US military procurements for years (e.g. GAO-23-106213 report). Numerous severe criminal events throw a dark shadow on all American activities in Ukraine since 2014 like Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal, a recent FTX crypto scandal where American aid was whitewashed via Ukraine and returned as illegal support to Democratic Party, real estate abuses and GMO agriculture, Pentagon biolabs in Ukraine etc.

Pentagon announced on Wednesday November 23, a new $400 million weapons package for Ukraine. The package includes heavy machine guns meant to counter drones, ammunition for HIMARS, various tactical vehicles, munitions for NASMS (air defense system the US just began delivering to Ukraine) and other material. The $400 million package is being sent to Ukraine through the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows President Biden to send arms straight from US military stockpiles without congressional approval.

Earlier, on November 18, Republicans members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill on the audit of funds allocated by the US to support Ukraine. Parliamentarians demand that all documents and discussions on the allocation of funds to Ukraine be agreed to in advance. This applies to military, civilian and financial assistance.

In November, the US Department of Defense failed its fifth audit in history. The department failed to report on 61% of its assets, according to Pentagon official Mike McCord. The audit was carried out by 1600 specialists. They found severe shortcomings in the accounting of the Ministry’s assets. According to the official audit data alone, US military assistance to Ukraine is already up to $20 billion and will continue to grow. However, the real price of Ukrainian war for the US citizens is unlikely to be revealed.

AFU missile to Poland and Polish engagement in Ukrainian war

NATO and Russia stood a moment on the brink of WWIII Tuesday evening, November 15, after Ukraine accidentally bombed Poland. The incident happened as its forces were trying to intercept incoming Russian missiles during what’s been described as Moscow’s fiercest attack of its special operation thus far. Instead of shooting down the Russian missile, Kiev’s S-300 malfunctioned and ended up dropping into Poland, where it killed two people.

The Ukrainian leadership was well aware of what happened but decided to propagate the most dangerous conspiracy theory in an attempt to literally spark worldwide war. Zelensky lied to the world by describing his forces’ accidental bombing of Poland as “a Russian missile strike on collective security” and telling NATO that “We need to act.” His Foreign Minister in turn claimed that all allegations that his side was responsible for this incident are nothing but “Russian propaganda”.

Biden told the press in response to a question about whether Russia was responsible that “There is preliminary information that contests that. It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.” Three unnamed US officials also said “preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile”.

There’s no reason to doubt Biden’s assessment nor that of those three unnamed US officials. After all, if any of them had any credible reason to suspect that Russia bombed NATO-ally Poland then they’d have reacted very differently. Just like with the Nord Stream terrorist attack that was in all likelihood carried out by the Anglo-American Axis, NATO doesn’t truly hold Moscow responsible.

As to Poland’s involvement in Ukraine war, Poland has been very prominent practical player in this war from the outset. After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February this year, President Andrzej Duda and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak officially called on Poles to join the ranks of mercenaries and fight on the side of the Kiev regime. Among the fighters who went to war were professional soldiers of the 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division and veterans of the unit living in the region.

There have been a lot of voluntary Polish mercenaries (estimated number exceeds 2000 Polish fighters) taking part in battles; Polish military technical experts and military trainers; special advisers and various military evaluation teams; as well as professional soldiers, especially, from various brigades of 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division. This division consists of one armored and two mechanized brigades plus the usual auxiliaries, which makes it a 15000 men strong unit.

There are estimates by military experts, based on information from publicly available Polish sources, that nearly 1500 Polish fighters have been killed so far. The number of wounded is probably three times the number of dead making the total Polish losses up to 6000 since the start of the war.

Triangle Game with proxies

To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.
                                                                                                             Henry Kissinger

The European people who claim to “Stand with Ukraine”, do not realize that they are actually supporting the impoverishment and immiseration of millions of civilians that are caught in a geopolitical crossfire between Washington and Russia. In fact, the US foreign policy establishment does not care about Ukraine or the Ukrainian people. The country is merely a launching pad for Washington’s war on Russia.

The Obama administration and their neocon allies set a trap for Russia in order to drag them into an Afghanistan-like quagmire that would deplete their resources and kill as many Russian servicemen as possible. As Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently admitted, the US wants to “weaken” Russia so it is unable to project power beyond its borders. Washington seeks unhindered access to Central Asia so it can encircle China with military bases and nuclear missiles. The US intends to control China’s growth while dominating the world’s most populous and prosperous region of the next century, Asia.

But first, Washington must crush Russia, collapse its economy, isolate it from the global community, demonize it in its media and topple its leaders. Ukraine is seen as the first phase in a much broader strategy aimed at regime change (in Moscow) followed by the forced fragmentation of the Russian state. The ultimate objective is the preservation of Washington’s preeminent role in the global order.

The US Administrations’ determination to defeat and outlast Russia’s Government in the Ukrainian war and to use that as an example — winning against Russia — in order to consolidate the US alliance with other major maritime nations, so that those nations will join America’s war to take over Taiwan, just as Britain still conducting the Falklands. America therefore must first defeat Russia, before it defeats China and then it will control the world.

The US strategy against Russia in Ukraine must succeed in order to make success of US strategy against China possible. Ukraine is the US proxy against Russia and Taiwan is the US proxy against China. Ukraine became a US “ally or vassal-nation” in 2014 but Taiwan is not yet officially got such a status. The US objective is therefore to lure China to invade Taiwan before 2027, while America still has the ability to defeat a Chinese invasion from the mainland. The way to do that is to flood Taiwan with US-and-allied weapons and training in how to use them, so as to make increasingly difficult for the mainland to enforce a Chinese blockade and take over the island.

Ukraine – no way to peace without further war

Refering to talks a week ago between CIA director Bill Burns and the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, I stated in my previous article that

There will be no ceasefire now but the talks are good anyway. Both sides should do their best to keep them going. It will need time and many more talks to make the necessary concessions to end this conflict.”

There is no sign that anyone within the Biden administration is seeking some way towards peace.

 General Milley, who went public with talk suggestion, was in fact backing his sayings. Another problem with talks is that there is no one to talk to. The Ukrainian President Zelensky is not in a position, where he can give up and stay alive. His position can be described by the chess term “Zugzwang” (in which each move of a player will worsen his position). The two sides have zero bargaining overlap in their positions, which means no basis for discussions.

Over the last months Russia had made a number of statements that could be seen as requests for talks. But the phase of Russia seeking negotiations now seems to be over. The pressure on Mr. Putin is from his own patriotic supporters and an untimely truce for negotiations right now could lead to civil disorder in Russia. 

Today, the majority of Russian society from top to bottom is unhappy with the present state of the war – but their discontent is with what they see their own government as “poor-standard” in not responding more resolutely to Ukrainian provocations. The withdrawal from the city of Kherson inflamed the passions of the Russian public who demand better explanations in their parliament and on their television than they have received so far. So, it seems that Russia has no alternative other than to continue on its current path of annihilating Ukraine.

Latest events on the battlefield

When General Surovikin took command, it was decided that Russia was going to wait for a decisive operation to end the war. In other words, no more simply defending southern Ukraine and the annexed territory, no more expectations of negotiations with anyone– those are over– the war shall be ended, by launching the operation that is so devastating in the destructiveness that the enemy cannot resist any more.

Under the new commander, the primary focus of military operations is the annihilation of all forces and assets that allow the enemy to continue to wage war. Moscow is determined settle the issue as quickly as possible and as forcefully as necessary. There won’t be any more messing around.

That said, recent reports suggest that the Biden administration may deploy US combat troops to the theatre in response to any Russian escalation that could threaten to alter the course of the war. If these reports prove to be accurate, then the greatly-anticipated winter offensive could trigger a direct conflagration between the United States and Russia. There are many indications that the Pentagon is already preparing for that eventuality.

The relentless attacks by Russia on Ukraine’s electrical grid, fuel-storage units, railway hubs and Command-and-Control centers mark the beginning of a second and more lethal phase of the war. The increased tempo of the high-precision, long-range missile attacks suggests that Moscow is laying the groundwork for a major winter offensive that will be launched as soon as Russia’s 300,000 reservists join their formations in east Ukraine and the winter freezes the ground. Some military analysts have estimated the size of Russian armed forces for the winter offensive exceeds a half million servicemen.

Until recently, Russia had avoided targets that would dramatically impact civilian activities, but now military leaders have returned to a more conventional approach. Presently, the military is destroying whatever facilities, transformers, storage units, substations, rail yards and energy depots that allow Ukraine to continue to wage war. Unfortunately, Russia’s military operation is going to greatly increase the suffering of the Ukrainians, being forced to flee their battered homeland by the millions seeking refuge in Europe, which has already slipped into a post-industrial slump.  

Russia’s winter offensive threatens to derail Washington’s plan to drag the conflict out for as long as possible. In the weeks and months ahead, Russia is going to intensify its assault on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Most of the country will be plunged into darkness, fuel supplies will dry up, food and water will become scarcer, communications will be cut off, and all rail-traffic will cease. Millions of civilians will flee to Europe while the entire country slowly grinds to a standstill.

Ukrainian authorities have begun evacuating civilians from recently re-taken sections of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, fearing that a lack of heat, power and water due to Russian shelling will make living conditions too difficult this winter. Arguably, similar operations will take place also in Kiev region. When the ground freezes, Russia’s winter offensive will begin.

Evaluation of the current military situation and likely outcome

Ukraine’s key strategic center of gravity is its western corridors to the Polish border, from where the vast majority of its war support enters the country. Their operational center of gravity is their resupply lines running eastwards from Kiev to Ukraine’s various frontline positions. Without those corridors, it would be nearly impossible for Kiev to sustain wartime operations for more than a few weeks. Critical supply-lines from Poland will be blocked, leaving troops at the front cut-off and vulnerable to attack.Eventually, the Kiev regime and their right-bloc security forces will be killed or captured. Moscow will not allow a government that is openly hostile towards Russia to rule the country.

In this scenario, Russia recognizes that the number of troops available for the task remains insufficient to capture all large Ukrainian cities but there is no need to capture major cities to succeed. Instead, Russia has identified and then try to take out the Ukrainian center of gravity, which military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, defined as “the hub of all power and movement of the enemy, on which everything depends.

There are now up to 550.000 Russian troops, after Russian Army’s partial mobilization & Wagner and Chechen extra mobilizations as well as small-scale mobilizations in those oblasts “liberated” by Russian troops, with sufficient amount of equipment and ammo stationed around the outskirts of Ukraine preparing to launch a major offensive that will probably end the war in Ukraine. Ukraine is now going to experience war on a scale we haven’t seen since 1945.

The fact is, the Russians have identified Ukraine’s power-grid, railway hubs, fuel deports, bridges and command-and-control centers, main substations, terminals and auto-transformers, across Ukraine and are picking them off one-by-one. The objective of the Russian operation is to undermine Ukraine’s ability to wage war. The attacks on Ukraine’s are merely Phase 1 of a 2-phase operation that is designed to defeat the enemy and bring the war to swift end.

If/when Russian military leadership orders an all-out attack, it will most likely start with a massive air, missile and drone attack to complete the destruction of the Ukrainian electric grids, substations, fuel storage facilities, rail yards, diesel locomotives, and communication facilities. Intent will be to make it intensely difficult to support the AFU, complicate communications, make intra-country movement of troops much harder, diminish their capacity to logistically support troops in disparate fronts with food, water, medicine, ammunition and spare parts.

Now, it appears that the Russian winter operation may be started

In the morning of November 27, Russian missiles hit several military targets in Ukraine, including near the city of Kryvyi Rih in the Dnipropetrovsk region. One of the targets of Russian missiles was the railway junction located near the city of Kryvyi Rih. As a result, the railway infrastructure was seriously damaged and the railway was put out of operation for a long time, according to the local official. The city of Kryvyi Rih is located near an important transport hub, which has been actively used by the Ukrainian military to transfer troops to the Kherson front lines and in other directions.

A new Russian strike took place on Monday, November 28, this time on railway junction located near Nikopol, again in order to stop troop transfers from Kherson to other frontlines.

There seems to be a clear Russian activation and accelerating on all frontlines but especially in Bahmut region, during last few days. If/when a real break-through by Russians will take place in this critical part, it is a very high risk that the whole northern part Ukrainian frontline in Donbass will collapse, which would be a beginning of the end. Russian Army would speed up the retreating of AFU from Donbass and obviously start also those other operations said above (cut off the supply corridors).